After decades of frustration, 2013 was a year filled with success for the immigration reform movement. The year brought passage of a comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate, five separate immigration bills passed out of committee in the House of Representatives, new voices from across the political spectrum added in support of reform, and groundswells of support for reform, including the more than 600 conservative and business leaders from key districts that the Partnership and 30 other organizations brought to Washington in October to urge the House to advance legislation in more than 180 meetings on the Hill.
We want to thank you for your support and share the collection of highlights below from this past year. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to working together in 2014 to pass immigration reform that will keep our economy booming for years to come.
The Partnership Mobilizes Support in States Across the Country
The Partnership for a New American Economy took the immigration reform fight to the states in 2013, building a field operation that spanned more than 20 states and more than 65 congressional districts. The Partnership’s team of field organizers helped build political pressure and support for immigration reform by mobilizing prominent business, political, faith, and other leaders in key districts to hold events, speak out in the press, and meet directly with their legislators, generating more than 1,500 direct contacts with legislators and more than 1,600 positive press stories in local papers around the country. The field teams also amplified all other Partnership efforts in 2013, bringing voices from targeted states and districts to Washington for the Americans for Reform fly-in, helping recruit colleges and universities to participate in the National University Day of Action, holding state-specific #iMarch events and hosting news conferences to bring attention to all reports and polls released by the Partnership.
The Partnership Organizes a National University Day of Action
“Our ability to educate and our ability to innovate are frustrated by US immigration laws.” – Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow, Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padron & Cornell University President David J. Skorton
On April 19, the Partnership and the National Immigration Forum organized a National Day of Action for immigration reform on campuses across the country. More than 75 colleges and universities in 35 states and Washington DC held events and rallies calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The “Day of Action” followed a March 6th letter from the Presidents of Cornell University, Arizona State University and Miami Dade College that urged their fellow education leaders to join them in the push for smart immigration reform that will attract and retain the world’s best and brightest.
Leaders Across the Political Spectrum Join a Digital March for Immigration Reform
In May, the Partnership organized and led the March for Innovation (#iMarch), the largest ever virtual march on Washington for immigration reform. The #iMarch mobilized leaders from politics, business, entertainment, and faith in a pass-the-baton digital storm across Google Hangouts, Twitter Town Halls, Facebook Q&As, Reddit AMAs, HuffPost Live, and other online medium to drive tens of thousands of Americans to join the #iMarch. Leaders ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Arianna Huffington, Grover Norquist to Cory Booker, and Ralph Reed to Russell Simmons helped break new digital ground, producing incredible moments such as President Obama retweeting Jeb Bush, Senators Reid and Schumer releasing their first-ever Vine messages, and the largest political Thunderclap in history, reaching more than 45 million people.
Partnership Releases a Report Examining the Role of Immigrants in North Carolina’s Agriculture Industry
In May, the Partnership released a report quantifying the impact the country’s broken immigration system has on American farms that was hailed by the Washington Post as “an excellent paper on North Carolina farm workers.” The report found that in 2011, a period when almost 500,000 North Carolinians were unemployed, only 268 native-born workers applied to fill the state’s 6,500 available farm laborer jobs. Of these 268, only seven of those individuals made it to the end of the growing season. Farmers instead had to turn to foreign-born workers to keep their farms running, using an expensive and outdated visa program to do so. Having those jobs filled, however, strengthened the local economy for workers across the board: For every 3 to 4.6 foreign-born farm laborers who arrived in the state, one job was created for a U.S.-born worker, often in related fields like trucking or construction.
The Partnership Publishes Polling to Demonstrate Broad Support for Reform
In June, two weeks ahead of the Senate vote on the “Gang of Eight” bill, the Partnership, Americans for Citizenship and Republicans for Immigration reform released a series of 27 in-state polls that showed overwhelming support for the bill’s passage and political reward for politicians who voted in favor of reform. The polls were released at coordinated news events in 22 states with key voices from each state. Additionally, a national news teleconference with representatives from each of the three sponsoring organizations garnered significant media attention. In total, the polls generated more than 200 news hits and were recited by the news media and pundits through the Fall of 2013.
In November, the Partnership, in conjunction with Compete America and Republicans for Immigration Reform, released a new set of polls, including a national survey and 11 individual state polls in traditional “battleground” states. The battleground surveys demonstrated the strong support for immigration reform across the country and the potential impact the issue may have on the Republican Party in future campaigns for the White House. The national survey showed that Americans support immigration reform by a 71%-25% margin with a majority more likely to vote for elected officials who vote for immigration reform, compared to only18% that would be less likely to do so. The results were profiled in Politico and other national publications.
An Interactive Map Shows the Impact of Immigration Across the Nation
The Partnership launched an interactive map in June, MapTheImpact.org, to show the impact of immigrants in every corner of the country. From Georgia, where 88% of Georgia Tech patents had at least one immigrant inventor, to Arizona, where immigrant-owned businesses generate $2.2 billion in annual revenue, immigrants are helping grow the economy in industries across sectors and communities across America.
United States Senate Passes a Comprehensive Immigration Bill
In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744) by a vote of 68 to 32. This monumental bill, which would enhance border security, increase visas for STEM candidates, provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers and undocumented immigrants who meet the criteria and create new visas for certain low-skilled workers and entrepreneurs was the result of years of advocacy and work both in and outside of Washington DC.
For its part, the House of Representatives has opted to create multiple bills, which address many of the issues in the Senate’s version. Five bills have already been passed out of committee.
Partnership Publishes Research on the Positive Impact of Immigrants on Housing Prices and Manufacturing
The Partnership, with the Americas Society / Council of Americas, released a report and an interactive map in June examining how immigrants bolster U.S. housing values and American manufacturing jobs. Jacob Vigdor, a professor at Duke University, was invited to brief the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on his finding that immigrants have led to a $3.7 trillion increase in U.S. housing wealth in the last 10 years. The report was referenced by President Obama in a recent speech, generated an entire section in the White House’s July 2013 Report “The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System,” and has been widely cited on CNN and in national outlets such as the Washington Post and USA Today.
In another report released in September, Vigdor’s shed light on how immigrants have helped turn around communities formerly in decline and preserved valuable American jobs: For every 1,000 immigrants living in a community, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved.
The Partnership’s Field Team Activates During the August Recess
During the August Recess, the Partnership utilized field teams in 67 Congressional districts to influence Members while they were back home in their districts. Field teams sent influencers to more than 50 town hall events to raise the issue of immigration reform in the meetings and in the media. Field teams in eight different states also held panels focused on immigration and events with members of Congress in their districts. In all, 150 news stories were written during August recess, including 24 opinion editorials placed by high-level in-state influencers.
More than 600 Conservative Leaders Fly to Washington to Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Reform
In October, the Partnership joined Bibles, Badges and Business, FWD.us, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of other partners to bring more than 600 conservative leaders from nearly 40 states to Washington. The “Americans for Reform” participants – which included business owners, faith leaders and law enforcement officials – met with more than 100 Congressional offices to urge Representatives to advance immigration reform. The fly-in generated more than 750 media mentions.